Posted by: Erin | July 10, 2008

Restaurant Review: Haveli (Indian)

My friend Julia came up to visit for the Fourth of July last weekend. Before we headed out to see the fireworks, we went over to Inman Square to have dinner. We were going to go to Montien, my favorite Thai place, but it was closed for the holiday. So we ended up at Haveli, an Indian place across the street that I’ve been meaning to try for a while. (I’ve also been craving Indian food for the past week or so, due to an excellent meal had in Northampton at my college reunion a few weeks ago.)

Haveli might possibly be the quietest restaurant I’ve ever been in, despite it having a healthy amount of customers at the time. The service was very good – nice, polite, quick. The food was, overall, good as well, though it wasn’t quite as good as India Palace in Northampton.

I had Keema Dosai, which I’d expected to be more like puff pastries with ground lamb and spices, turned out to be a semi-crunchy pancake with ground lamb, potatoes and some kind of spice that gave the potatoes a slightly limon-y color. (I know I’ve seen it before, but I don’t know what it is. I keep wanting to say saffron, but I know it’s not. Any thoughts?) I liked it, though it had a little more kick to it than I was expecting. The pancake itself wasn’t very good on its own, but with the filling, it worked out.

I also had Chicken Biryani, which I am discovering can be made in a variety of different ways. The first time I had it, it had cashews and yellow raisins in it; the second had no raisins, but did have green peppers; the third time had raisins and peppers and cashews. All were good, but it threw me for a bit, thinking that I was remembering a different dish. Haveli’s was good, and as an added bonus, still tasted great the next day when I had leftovers for dinner.

The thing that I loved, though, was the Peshawari Nan. Oh my god, I could eat this forever. Nan is good, but this has coconut, almonds, raisins, and apricots in it. (Though I couldn’t actually taste the raisins or apricots, but it was excellent anyway.) It’s just so warm and chewy and coconut-y. I looked online to see if I could find a way to make it at home. I found a few recipes that look like I might be able to do them on my own. I won’t have time to test them out for a while, but I shall report back as soon as I do.

So, Haveli: good Indian food, good service, decent prices. Not sure it’s worth the rave reviews I’d read about it, but not a bad place to go.

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Responses

  1. Yum, Indian food! Have you ever had Chicken Makhani? It’s scrumptious—sort of like a cross between tandoori chicken & chicken curry, but the curry part is a rich blend of spices, nuts, and yogurt.

    The lemony color of the potatoes you had probably came from turmeric, which is a fairly standard ingredient in Indian cooking.

    Like the Chicken Biryani, if you have Peshawari Nan somewhere else, it’ll likely have different ingredients.

    (An aside: Do you know that Peshawar is the capital city of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province? That’s the wild & wooly tribal area that borders Afghanistan. Their food tends to have an Afghan influence, with Afghan food also having Persian influences. Persian food tends to be very mild and uses lots of veggies, fruits, and nuts. And the very best saffron in the world comes from there, IMO.)

    In my experience, most foods have different variations depending on the region the cook is from and his/her personal tastes. Sort of like our variations of BBQ (Kansas City, South Carolina, Texas, etc.) or the myriad variations you’ll encounter at any good chili cook-off.

    Do you guys even have chili cook-offs here on the East Coast…? 😉

  2. Hey Digi! Knew you’d find your way over here eventually. 🙂

    I’ve never had Chicken Makhani before. I’m still new to Indian food, but I tend to stay away from the curries. I don’t love the super-spicy stuff, so I tread cautiously around Indian food. But what I’ve had so far has been good, so I’m kind of psyched.

    I didn’t know the bit about Peshawar. You’re so full of weird but excellent knowledge. 🙂 You don’t, perchance, have a good, easy recipe for peshawari naan? I’m thinking about just making the mix (once I get a food processor) and stuffing a pre-made naan (my supermarket apparently carries it from time to time – awesome!), and just heating it up. Dunno if it’ll work, but I’m sure it’ll be an interesting experience.

    And yes, I’m sure there are chili cook-offs somewhere, but I don’t like chili, so I have no info for you. 🙂

  3. LOL, yeah, I’m always snooping around keeping an eye on you guys (someone has to make sure you’re behaving yourselves).

    I know what you mean about the super spicy stuff—when it’s too hot all I can taste is… well, the hot, y’know? All other flavors get lost. A lot of times it just depends on the restaurant & the cook.

    I used to have this Indian cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey (she’s really good) and there was this one recipe I really liked. I used to make it with like 2 of those dried red chilies, even though the recipe said to use like 5 of them. And get this—she said in India they use something like 12–15!!

    Re my reservoir of weird knowledge, I have to impart it to someone, right? 😉

    Re the peshawari naan, sorry no recipes. 😦

  4. […] is sneaky and I find it irritating.) I’ve been looking for a recipe for naan since I was introduced to the fantasticness that is peshawari naan. None seem to be easy to make, though, so I was excited to find a packaged brand in the […]


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